A white Indian ringneck parakeet eating fruit while he visits with an adopter at a parrot rescue. Expect the unexpected at a parrot rescue. Parrots are full of surprises.
A white Indian ringneck parrot eating fruit while being visited at a parrot rescue.

What to Expect at a Parrot Rescue

Kathy LaFollett


How to Adopt a Parrot Series — Part 2

Expectations. Humans build those things like Lego skyscrapers. We think on ideas, plan variables, create variable plan Bs, then create a story around all those ideas. The happy ending of our story is the expectation. Humans create unreasonable expectations to edify insecurity. We slap the word hope on the label. Hope is faith in an unknown unplanned outcome. Expectation is an egocentric call for an echo we feel we have a right to claim.

Walking into a parrot rescue with expectations other than spending time, leads to problems. Don’t do it. If you’ve gone through the processes laid out by the rescue director or owner, and sincerely applied your honest answers and reflection to changing your entire lifestyle for a companion. (That’s the only way to walk into a parrot rescue.) You are setup emotionally for a parrot to size you up. This isn’t about you choosing. This is about them allowing you.

I’ve been to a rescue on top of a bluff, with multiple houses on the property. Each house laid out and filled with parrot cages of all sizes. Each cage protecting adoptable parrots. Each room was set up for the happiness of those that lived there. Relationships between birds exist. The rescuers did their level best to group friends in each room. This rescue is staggering in as much as the love, dedication, intelligence, determination, education, tenacity, and sacrifice that is poured out by volunteers, owners, and family. Mind boggling. The day I visited and walked through all the rooms to meet all their birds (they loved and understood each one as if that was their only adoptable bird), I left in awe.

I’ve been to a rescue that was one room in a house. Six birds, loved and cared for and looking for their adopters. Two people who found themselves able to help. So they just do. I left in awe.

I’ve visited a dozen rescues, two sanctuaries, and three homes that just do. What you can expect is strong, dedicated, educated love for companion parrots. What you can expect in a good rescue is parrots ready to give you a once over, and spend time to make sure they are right about you. What you can expect at a parrot rescue is the beautiful shocking experience of being judged. Not by the humans.

  • When you first enter a visiting room, or the general room for introductions, sit down. Relax. The first article of your worth to prove is your stability. So, relax. Smile. Say hello kindly.
  • When sharing time and space with a parrot, make offers, never demands. They don’t know you. Why should they trust anything you’ve got to say? At that first visit, unless there’s magic (and sometimes it’s that easy), sit. Let the bird show you who they are, first.
  • Bribery is a false indicator. You have to earn this trust. Bribing with treats is a human’s way of cheating a system. Don’t do it.
  • Sit quietly, talk kindly. Wait. Let them react to you, and then you to them. It’s a dance.
  • That first visit maybe you’re just walking through a room or hallway visiting cage side. Never sneak up on a parrot in their cage. Before approaching, get their attention. Let them see you, then see you approach. Slow down and take in their reactions. Let them judge you. Accept their sentence. They owe you nothing and are not a novelty or plaything.
  • Remember, in the first visit you are NOT PART OF THEIR CURRENT LIFE OR FLOCK. You will be judged.

What you can expect on your second visit at the parrot rescue will surprise you.

  • On your second visit, you are no longer a stranger. You are a familiar. Those that sentenced you to ‘maybe’ the first visit may well approach you cage side or walk right up your arm to say hello in a visiting room.
  • Your voice is familiar. You can use it with flair. Happy hellos. Laughs. Comical questions. Amp up the silly. Parrots love silly.
  • Bring treats. The sentences were already given the first visit. Those that sentenced you to ‘no thanks’ won’t be interested in your bribes anyway.
  • Explore their surroundings. Offer to clean the cages of those you feel haven’t sentenced you to excommunicado. Change their water bowls. Cleaning a parrot’s cage is intimate. It’s akin to going to a friend’s house and making their bed. It means something.
  • If you’re smart enough to visit two more times, there’s going to be a moment where you aren’t going to leave without someone. Because your companion parrot won’t let you.

Visiting a parrot rescue is unlike any other experience. It’s an experience you will see, feel, hear, smell, touch, and immerse in the truth about companion parrots. There are many truths. Many hidden gems. There are two truths that will leave with you. The people working inside good parrot rescues are exceptional. Focused, strong, unflappable, concerned with the parrot’s best. The parrots living inside a good rescue are exceptional. Focused, strong, unflappable, judgey, and way ahead of you. Try to keep up.

The Art of the FlockCall — Creating Your Successful Companion Parrot Lifestyle

The Art of the FlockCall Second Edition — The expectations of an intelligent, needy, loud, messy, independent, nosey, expensive, opinionated, wonderful companion, parrot.

Read Part 1 - How To Adopt a Parrot — FlockCall

Part 3 — How to Connect with a Parrot